Life at any army is very tough and soldiers face many challenges in day to day life. Indian Army’s soldiers have to be very alert and always ready for a fight. It is impossible to even survive for us at Rann of Kutch or at Siachen, or in the scorching heat of Jaisalmer. One needs a very fit body to survive. It’s not always physical stress they have to deal with, the tougher challenge in front of them is to deal with the mental stress caused by loneliness, that sometimes prove more disturbing than continuous enemy fire.
Soldiers deployed at camps usually don’t feel lonely but those who are posted at forward border posts are all alone. It could be jungle all around you or just the white plains, if you are in Siachen. The behaviourial changes of the soldiers can easily be observed, their physical and mental appetite goes down. It’s an alarming situation for the leading officer because as a leader, his most important job is to keep the morale of the jawans high. Due to the situation, sometimes it works but sometimes it does not.
The officer starts a casual conversation with the jawan, just to get them talking but having no one around and barren land makes them empty. Soldiers stop responding to any invitations made by their respective officers, they just nod their heads and you can understand the effect of isolation. Indian Army Officers also make their jawans write letters home compulsorily, just to keep the mood pumped up.
These posting on forward border posts also affect the relationships of the soldiers guarding the border together. They become very close friends, brothers in some cases and the bond becomes stronger. Nothing is better than a loyal friend in a lonely place, that’s why every border post has a dog with them, they work as messengers. The soldiers tie their letters to their collars and they deliver it the people in camps who will forward the letters to their families. It’s hard to beat all the loneliness and silence surrounding. You have never lived until you have almost died, those who fought for it and still fighting life has a special flavor, the protected will never know.
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